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Q: "Radiation Therapy" ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: "Radiation Therapy"
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: andy7777-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 11 Jul 2003 10:05 PDT
Expires: 10 Aug 2003 10:05 PDT
Question ID: 227872
How often is radiation therapy used to fight cancer in the United
States in comparison with other methods? - please provide at least one
referencable source

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 11 Jul 2003 13:10 PDT
Hello Andy7777-ga,

This turned out to be unexpectedly challenging.  

I have found two sites -- one the American Cancer Society, and the
other a society of radiation technologists -- that report that
radiation therapy is used in about half of all cancer cases.  The ACS
site goes on to give some additional detail about the types of cancers
where radiation is used most often.

However, neither site references the original source of their
information, nor do they specifically compare the frequency of
radiation use to other types of treatments.

Would the 50% references -- on their own -- be an adequate answer for
your needs, or do you requre more specific and quantitative
comparisons to other forms of therapy?

Clarification of Question by andy7777-ga on 11 Jul 2003 14:11 PDT
If you could provide a couple of website references I think that would
be good enough. I agree its a tough thing to find!
Subject: Re: "Radiation Therapy"
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 11 Jul 2003 14:17 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Thanks for getting back to me.  Here are the websites I found:

According to The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and
Oncology -- ASTRO -- in their information brochure, "What is Radiation
Therapy" at:

they report the following statistic:

What is Radiation Therapy? 

About 50 to 60 percent of cancer patients are treated with radiation
at some time during their disease.

Radiation therapy is the careful use of high-energy radiation to treat
cancer. A doctor (radiation oncologist) may use radiation to cure
cancer or to relieve a cancer patient’s pain.


A similar figure is given by the American Cancer Society site at their
rediation therapy page:

What Is Radiation Therapy? 
Radiation therapy uses a stream of high-energy particles or waves,
such as x-rays, gamma rays, electrons, or protons to destroy or damage
cancer cells. Other names for radiation therapy include radiotherapy,
x-ray therapy, cobalt therapy, and irradiation.

Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer and
is used in more than half of all cancer cases.


ACS then goes on to give additional detail about use of radiation
therapies for particular types of cancer:

"It is the primary treatment for some types of cancer, such as certain
non-melanoma skin cancers, head and neck cancers, early-stage
Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Cancers of the lung,
breast, cervix, prostate, testes, bladder, thyroid, and brain are also
treated with radiation therapy."


The ACS statement implies there may be more detailed information
available on statistics for treatments of individual cancers.  If you
have one particular cancer that's of the most interest, let me know if
you want me to look into it in more detail.

Here's hoping that those who are healthy stay that way, and those who
aren't, get healthy soon....


Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 11 Jul 2003 18:59 PDT
This was bugging me a bit (well...more than a bit), so I looked around
some more and may have hit paydirt.

An article on radiotherapy that you can see here:

which is called:  "When to Consider Radiation Therapy for Your Patient
", cites the 60% figure that I gave you earlier, but actually gives a
primary reference for it:

Perez C, Brady L, eds. Principles and practice of radiation oncology.
3d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 1998.

I hope this is the "official' source that you needed.

andy7777-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $6.00
I looked for awhile for even that much info and didn't find it so you
should get 4 stars for that question! Can't give 5 stars because the
sources are official

Subject: Re: "Radiation Therapy"
From: pafalafa-ga on 11 Jul 2003 16:00 PDT
Thank you for the stars and for the generous tip. 

But I must ask...what did you mean by your remark that  you couldn't
give 5 stars "because the sources are official..."?  I'm not sure I
Subject: Re: "Radiation Therapy"
From: andy7777-ga on 11 Jul 2003 18:26 PDT
Sorry, I meant to say the sources were not official in the sense that
they were online links. There wasn't a source for the statistics
themselves within the page, but we discussed that and it was OK. I
just wish I had the ultimate source for the material such as NCI
Report blah page xxx.

Thank you so much, the information is very helpful though and I will
eventually track down the sources.

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